A Quick Guide To Pinot Noir For Beginners

Known as one of the most popular red wines, Pinot Noir is cherished for its light bodied format. With red fruit and florals plus spiced aromas, it provides a lovely and lasting smooth finish.

If you’re new to wine, this down and dirty guide to Pinot Noir for beginners is for you.

pinot noir

The Pinot Noir Varietal

Pinot Noir is a varietal of black grape from France. In fact, it’s said to be the oldest of France’s grapes which was cultivated over a century ago in Burgundy by the Cistercian monks.

It is difficult to grow which is why it’s such a cherished wine, and with its intensive popularity, it is one of the most expensive types of wine.

Where Does Pinot Noir Grow?

Burgundy, France is certainly the most popular region for Pinot Noir grapes to grow. Because these wines are so famous and pricey, it has prompted winemakers around the world to attempt to copy this success.

As such, you can find Pinot Noir vines growing in other parts of the world.

Pinot Noir bodes best in cooler climates that offer longer growing seasons. Often, they can be found growing in valleys or close to large bodies of water.

While France is deemed the best at creating Pinot Noir, you can still find delicious wines with this varietal thriving to international acclaim in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and in the US in the states of California, Oregon, and even New York.

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How Does Pinot Noir Taste?

In most cases, you can expect Pinot Noir to be dry with a light to medium body. It features silky tannins, bright acidity, and an ample alcohol content between 12% and 15%.

Flavors tend to encompass cherry, raspberry, mushroom, and hibiscus. For Pinot Noir aged in French oak, you will get a hint of vanilla and baking spices.

However, these flavors will vary based on the region they are produced. The cooler climates will produce that lovely and delicate flavor that is so beloved while the warmer climates will give you a riper and more full-bodied experience with a higher alcohol content.

How Do You Pair Pinot Noir With Food?

If you enjoy sipping wine with your meal, Pinot Noir is a wine you should try. It’s incredibly versatile with food pairing thanks to the higher acidity and lower tannin content.

It is most enjoyable with chicken, pork, or duck as far as meats are concerned. It’s perfect for your holiday meal. For a meatless meal, Pinot Noir shines impeccably with mushrooms which are known for their earthy flavors and meaty textures. 

The best temperature to serve Pinot Noir is between 55–60°F. You should aim to let it decant for 30 minutes so it can open up to the exceptional flavors before you serve it.

When aging, Pinot Noir is best kept in the cellar for 5 or more years, though there are many bottles you can pop open today to enjoy a taste of one of the world’s most highly sought after wines.

Pinot Noir For Beginners- FAQ

Is Pinot Noir good for beginners?

Pinot Noir is the best red wine for beginners. It’s a light-bodied wine, not too bold and low tannins. The wines are generally dry, earthy with notes of cherries and berries. The Pinot Noir grape is used to make varietal (Pinot Noir) as well as red blends.

Which Pinot Noir is best for beginners?

The Willamette Valley, Ore makes some of the best Pinot Noir in the world. You can also try a Pinot Noir from France for a bit of a drier style.

Is Pinot Noir hard to drink?

Pinot noir is more acidic than other red wines and has lower tannins (dry mouth feeling on the finish), which makes pinot noir smooth and easy to drink.

How do you pick a good Pinot Noir?

We recommend participating in tastings at your local wine shop. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Typically, Pinot Noir is dry, light- to medium-bodied, with bright acidity, lower tannins and alcohol that ranges between 12–15%.

What wine should I drink as a beginner?

Pinot Noir is a great place to start for beginners. Red wines with low tannins are best for beginners. We recommend, Pinot Noir, Gamay (old world) and Lodi, Zinfandel as great places to start.

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